Award-winning actor, singer-songwriter, comic and talk radio host (whew!) Jamie Foxx (born Eric Marlon Bishop – who knew?) comes here June 4 to pick-up the coveted Renaissance Award from the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute
Award-winning actor, singer-songwriter, comic and talk radio host (whew!) Jamie Foxx (born Eric Marlon Bishop – who knew?) comes here June 4 to pick-up the coveted Renaissance Award from the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and to participate in a lively chat about his career during a benefit gala at The Ritz-Carlton. Proceeds will support the Black Harvest International Festival of Film & Video as well as the film center’s presentations, lecture series and discussions with visiting scholars and filmmakers, educational and public programs. Single tickets: $400-$1,000; table sponsorships, $5,000-$50,000. Call (312) 846-2072 or visit www.artic.edu. Suggested attire: “cocktail glam.”
Highlights of A Night with Jamie Foxx: a reception, dinner, award presentation by Dr. Walter Massey, SAIC president, clips from Foxx’s career and questions from gala guests. Robert Downey Jr., the 2010’s Renaissance winner and a Foxx pal, emcees. The Renaissance Award was designed specifically for Foxx by R.S. Owens & Co., creator of the Oscar statuette. Call (312) 846-2072 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Yep! We’re there!
Curtain Call – Darren Canady’s Brothers of the Dust, directed by Daniel Bryant, opens Friday at The Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, 777 N. Green. Produced by Congo Square Theatre Co., it features ensemble members Anthony Irons, Tracy Bonner, James T. Alfred, Velma Austin, Shanesia Davis, Edgar Sanchez Jr. and Austin Talley. After seven years of protecting the family land, Roy Colton is visited by his brothers who’ve come to stake their claim. Peeling back the layers of this family saga, sibling rivalry, betrayal and hidden passions are discovered as a battle over family legacy ensues. Tickets: $30; for Target-sponsored half-price Saturday matinees, call (312) 733-6000; for group rates, (773) 296-1108. Previews: this Friday and Saturday.
Newsy Names – Chicago Defender’s Michael House and Austin People’s Action Center’s Cynthia Williams are among a half-dozen folk who’ll be honored by the Coalition for United Community Action on June 2 at its Grassroots Award Dinner at the East Bank Club … Tickets @ $50 ($150 for VIPs) are on sale for Tavis Smiley’s Changing the World One Conversation at a Time with Dr. Garrard McClendon on Thursday, 7 p.m., at Kennedy-King College, sponsored nationally by Nationwide and Enterprise and locally by the City Colleges of Chicago. Dr. McClendon hosts WYCC-TV20’s “Off 63rd,” a half-hour public affairs show that airs live on Thursdays. VIP donation includes a WYCC one year membership and two-for-one discounts at local venues and entry to the VIP reception. Call (888) 993-9922.
B’day cheer to Mary Mitchell, Fr. Michael Pfleger, Anna Mitchell, Theresa Robinson, Aquanetta Olive, Allene Craft Brown, Kenneth Conrad, Rick McGuire, Charisse Witherspoon, Shatira Wilks, Marcel Jean and Lisa Witherspoon … Good guy Atty. Ernesto Borges (of TV’s “Bill Busters” fame) came to the aid of a “Teesee” friend in distress who left the head lights on in her car late, late one night and was in need of jump. After several denials, along came Ernesto “to the rescue” … Patricia Brooks chairs Women’s Week, June 19-25, at DuPage AME Church. Christian Women Denying Themselves for His Name’s Sake begins with a Sunday Prayer Lunch at Abbington Banquets in Glen Ellyn. Rev. Dr. James F. Miller is pastor … A new author, Jeana RΘnee Rand, has emerged with the release of her first book, Eyes Open, which depicts a segment of her adolescence while growing up with her brother, sister and cousin. Rand, who owns a successful daycare center, has an associate degree in Early Childhood Education from California College for Health Sciences in Salt Lake City. The married mom of two sons is also a poet and will be publishing a book of poems in the fall.
Whazup! Whazup! – Jackie Taylor’s Black Ensemble Theater holds replacement auditions for All In Love is Fair on Thursday, 6 p.m., at 4520 N. Beacon, seeking all ethnic types to sing soul music. Come with a one-minute song and monologue. And more: BET has received a $25,000 grant from Cubs Care, a McCormick Foundation fund, to help with general operations of the theater … Lifting Our Spirits for Christ is the theme of Saturday’s Gospel Festival hosted by Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church, 600 E. 35th St., 4 p.m.-6 p.m. On stage: Pierre Walker & Project Sanctified, Sixth Grace Chancel Choir Singers, Allen Bruce, Inspirational Singers, Chatham Bethlehem Presbyterian Choir, Kevin Porter Jr. and more. Rev. Patrick L. Daymond is pastor … Bethel New Life celebrates its Annual Dinner & Fundraising Gala on Friday at Garfield Park Conservatory with good music, good eats, good friends, a silent auction and festive program. The $125 a ticket event begins at 6 p.m. and continues ‘til 10 p.m. Contact Melissa Kelsey at (773) 473-7870, ext. 140.
Partners – Brenda Palms Barber, executive director of the North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN) and CEO of Sweet Beginnings, presented a basket of Beelove Honey-Infused bath and body products to Mayor Richard M. Daley at a press conference to announce a new partnership between NLEN, Sweet Beginnings, the Chicago Dept. of Aviation and the Dept. of Family and Support Services to create a new apiary (bee farm) at O’Hare International Airport. Thirty-five new beehives will be maintained by ex-offenders working at O’Hare.
Congrats – to Shahari G. Moore, third-generation Bronzeville resident, author, screenwriter, filmmaker, historian and assistant professor of African-American Studies at Olive-Harvey College. She’s been named visiting professor at USC (Univ. of Southern California) where she teaches African-American History & Culture for the Guy A. Hanks & Marvin Miller Screenwriting Fellowship (a.k.a. the Cosby Writing Fellowship). Established in 1993 by actor-comedian Dr. Bill Cosby and his wife, Dr. Camille Hanks Cosby, the program helps writers hone their professional screenwriting skills, assists in script development and deepens an appreciation for African American history and culture.
Moore instructs students who were selected from around the country to participate in the program. Doreene Hamilton-Hudson, executive director, says: “As writers of color, our responsibility is to educate while entertaining our audiences of the many facets of our culture, history and personalities. Her extensive background in history and culture helps give writers a rich foundation of who we are, how our images have been depicted over the years and what their responsibilities are as writers of color to change or enhance how we are portrayed on the screen.”
Moore just completed production on a short film, Swimmin’ Lesson, featuring Kelvin Roston Jr., which she wrote and executive produced with Dr. Christine List, CSU professor and chair of English and Communication Studies. The story is an adaptation of her flash fiction narrative published in Warpland: A Journal of Black Literature and Ideas by CSU Press in 2007 about a Hurricane Katrina survivor. Moore, who received the Echoes of Excellence Award in 2010, spearheaded the initial campaign that granted landmark status for the homes of three literary giants and former Bronzeville residents: Illinois Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks, playwright Lorraine Hansberry and author Richard Wright.
For Early-Birds – Half-off tickets are selling for Muntu Dance Theatre’s Summer Concert on July 16 at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. This Fa